Record 20 crore trees planted in the Spring Season
season this year, said Climate Change Ministry media spokesperson,
He told media on Sunday that a tree plantation target of 153
million was set for the spring season during a high-level
inter-ministerial and inter-provincial meeting held in the climate
change ministry on January 29.
"But 208 million trees were planted during the three-month
spring season, which is staggeringly 55 million more than trees
planted against the target of 153 million trees in short span of
three months," Saleem Shaikh said.
The spring season begins from mid of late February and lasts
till end of April, said a press release.
Giving break-up of the spring tree plantation target achieved
and set, the climate change media spokesperson said Punjab forest
department planted 13.92 million trees against target of 12.09
planted 100,000 trees against 250,000.
He said that tree plantation targets are set twice a year for
spring season (February-March) and monsoon season (June-September).
The plantations during these two crucial seasons were vital to boost
tree cover to make the country climate-proof.
"Role of forests in tackling climate change impacts,
particularly floods, soil, wind and river erosions, sea-level rise,
erratic and torrential rains, is now being recognized globally and
so by the present Pakistani government," he said.
Pakistan is home to forests over around 800,000 hectares,
which constitutes to be five percent of the total land mass of the
"But the country loses forests over some 27,000 hectares every
year. This trend of deforestation has exposed the country to the
negative fallouts of the global warming-induced climate change," he
The present PML(N)-led government is abreast of the country's
exacerbating vulnerability to the climate change impacts and was
taking all-out measures to boost climate-resilience of the country.
Saleem Shaikh explained "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's ambitious
Green Pakistan Programme is a clear indicator of the present
government's unquestionable seriousness towards protecting
socio-economic sectors, lives and livelihoods of the people from the
climate change impacts, which have shown rise in frequency and
"The climate change ministry has boosted its efforts and in
close contact with the provincial, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu &
Kashmir and FATA forest departments to make the Green Pakistan
Programme (GPP) a success story in the region, which has been well
applauded by the international, regional and national forest
conservationists, environmentalists and climatologists," Saleem Shaikh
He added that under the Rs. 10 billion GPP, around 105 million
trees would be planted across the country in next five years, for
which the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had already approved two
billion rupees for the two financial years (2016-16 and 2017-2018)
The equal amount is to be contributed by the governments of the
federating and three administrative units
The spokesperson further said that the programme would be
launched on August 14 this year, for which a grand launching
ceremony would be held in Islamabad.
Highlighting significance of the forests in tackling climate
change, he said that being major source of livelihoods for millions
the forests play different major roles in this regard.
"They have the potential to absorb about one-tenth of global
carbon emissions projected for the first half of this century into
their biomass, soils and products and store them - in principle in
perpetuity," Saleem Shaikh elaborated.
He said that the important services forests provide are often
under-estimated or ignored. "They can act as safety-net for local
communities, boosting their ability deal with climate risks,
particularly floods and erratic and heavy rains. Mangrove forests,
for instance, can hold back storm surges or cyclonic flooding and
mountain forests help stabilize soil and hence stop soil erosion as
well as landslides," he argued.
According to reports, two billion people worldwide still rely
on forests for their primary source of fuel, he highlighted and
added that woodland has a huge role to play in regulating water
supplies - decreasing storm runoff and reducing the pollutants in
rainfall before it reaches local water sources.
The forests are also one of the world's largest carbon sinks,
absorbing 2.4 billion tones of carbon dioxide each year and storing
billions more, the climate change spokesperson Saleem Shaikh said
while quoting a report of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture
Some scientists have warned in the report that deforestation
must be cut by 50 percent by 2020 for the best chance of meeting this target.